Camera operator

The professional operator of a film or video camera who is part of a film, video, or television production crew.

A film or video camera operator is a professional who operates a film or video camera as part of a film crew.

In filmmaking, the cinematographer or director of photography is sometimes called a lighting director. He/she may operate the camera or enlist the aid of a camera operator to operate it or set the controls.

The first assistant cameraman, also known as a focus puller, is responsible for the maintenance of the camera, such as clearing dirt from the film gate and adjusting the following focus. A second assistant cameraman, also known as a clapper loader, might be employed to load film, slate scenes, or maintain the camera report (a log of scenes, takes, rolls, photographic filters used, and other production data).

A camera operator in a video production may be known by titles like:

  • television camera operator
  • video camera operator
  • or videographers,

depending on the context and technology involved. As of 2016, there were over 59 000 television, video, and motion picture camera operators employed in the United States.

Important camera operator skills include:

  • choreographing and framing shot;
  • knowledge of and the ability to select appropriate camera lenses, and other equipment (dollies, camera cranes, etc.) to portray dramatic scenes;
  • the principles of dramatic storytelling;
  • film editing fundamentals;
  • the ability to communicate clearly and concisely on sets where time and film budget constraints are present.
Camera operator
also known as
  • Camerawoman
  • Cameraman
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